I have been reflecting upon my conversion to becoming a Roman Catholic. Why did I convert? I was 17-18 years old.
Once I became a Catholic, I began to try convince others to be Catholic too. I was a pest. I read a lot. I used arguments to attempt to recruit more people to the Church by force of words and ideas.
I have never really seen any person enter or convert the Catholic Church for arguments. I was not successful.
However, I know and meet many converts. Nobody that I have known has been converted by arguments. So, why did I convert to the Catholic Faith? What affected me was the experience of Peace. I met a young man, and his family, Catholics who were very comfortable and open with their Catholic Faith. He and his family had a peace that I had never known. They weren’t perfect, but they had the Peace of their Faith. They did not try to make arguments in favor of their Catholic Faith. But they lived their Faith. They did not miss Mass, they received communion, they practiced frequent confession. They had a deep Peace in their lives in the sacramental life of the Church. They had a Hope and Confidence I had never known.
Why did I convert to the Catholic Faith? Because I wanted what he had. I wanted Peace.
The Devil knows how to win souls. He takes away our peace, often using two or three tools: fear and pride and anger.
Our peace is also biblical. Let me show it to you in Scripture.
The Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was going to conceive a child, if she was willing to accept him from God. Mary was fearful at first when the Angel appeared to her. The Archangel said, “Do not fear, Mary ….”
Near Bethlehem on Christmas Eve there were some shepherds watching over their flocks when an Angel of the Lord appeared with light and the glory of God. They were also surprised and fearful at the appearance of the Angel, but the Angel told them, “Do not be afraid.”
Every time Jesus, in his ministry, entered a group of people he said to them something like, “Peace be with you” or, “Do not lose peace.” Or “Peaceful.” “Calm down.”
Jesus brings Peace. Jesus wishes us Peace. In peace our Faith grows. Only in Peace does love grow. You couples know very well the situation when, after an argument with your partner, when you find forgiveness and reconciliation, there comes a real peace between you.
Maybe you have experienced that peace after a good Confession. Without this Peace, it is difficult to progress in Faith. Faith and Hope grow in peace. Order follows peace.
John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus,
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”
In Advent we must prepare for the peace of Jesus’ coming. We must separate ourselves from the anxieties of the world. The tools of Advent are prayer, repentance, penance, sacrifices, alms and fasting.
If it is difficult for you to help a poor person, you need to help more people and bring peace to them. If it is difficult for you to give alms, you need to give more alms to give more peace to other people. Give alms.
Prepare for the Good Night, the Night of Peace, the birth of Jesus: Live your Advent; then grow in Peace.